GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
Petit Futé's opinion on GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
It is the most famous bridge in the United States and the most loved by Americans: 2,737 metres long and 27 metres wide. When they use it, vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists walk more than 67 m above the ocean on six lanes. A few more technical figures to express the scale of the structure: the central span measures 1,280 m, the pylons boast a height of 227.40 m. The support cables are no less than 92 cm in diameter and the bridge as a whole weighs some 804,000 tonnes. Today several dozen workers work on the daily maintenance of the bridge. This seems less surprising when you consider that more than forty million vehicles use it every year. Before this bridge was built, the only way the inhabitants of the bay could cross it was by ferry, a regular service of which began in the early 19th century. But its implementation was quickly followed by the idea of building a bridge that would make it easier for Californians to travel. The development of the city of San Francisco could not be achieved without a more efficient way for the residents of Marin County to reach the big city. However, it was not until the beginning of the following century, when the bay's ferry service had become the most important in the world, that Joseph Strauss, a famous engineer, was entrusted with the mission of building the Golden Gate Bridge. The name of the bridge was adopted at the beginning of the project in the late 1910s. It was not until 1935 that construction of the bridge began. It will cost the American authorities more than $35 million, and four years later the inauguration will take place. The celebrations lasted a week, as the San Franciscans were so proud and happy to finally be able to join the neighbouring county. On the day of the inauguration, more than 200,000 people crossed the bridge on foot. In 1987, for the bridge's 50th anniversary celebrations, traffic was also stopped on the bridge so that pedestrians could once again cross it. Between 750,000 people and 1 million attended the celebrations, proof that the bridge is an integral part of Californian, and more broadly American, culture and identity. The bridge is also featured in many American works known throughout the world. He can be seen in hundreds of films, such as Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, Star Trek, Les Aventuriers de l'Arche perdue, Madame Doubtfire or recently in the animated film Inside Out. The Golden Gate Bridge is also infamous, as it is the second most used bridge for suicide attempts. The bridge road from which people attempting to end their lives are thrown is 75 metres above the water, with a fall from the road leading to a speed increase of more than 120 kilometres per hour in four seconds. More than 1,600 bodies have been found since 1937. To prevent any further deaths from the bridge, the Californian authorities have decided to install a net to prevent any further attempts.
Crossing the Golden Gate and excursion to Sausalito. The Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion south of the bridge is a very useful stopover for filling up with maps and information. Here are our little tips to help you choose how to walk the 2.7 km of the legendary bridge.
By car: the fastest option of course, but not the most charming because you will not have time to enjoy the view. Allow 2 minutes to cross the bridge and 10 minutes to reach Sausalito. Attention: automated toll on the return to San Francisco.
By bike: the best option and our favorite, especially to continue to Sausalito. Bicycle paths are provided, but the crossing is noisy with the flow of cars (more than 120,000 every day). Allow 10 to 15 minutes to cross the bridge and 30 to 40 minutes to cross it and reach Sausalito. The return can be done by ferry.
By foot: an option for those who really want to take their time. Allow 30 minutes to cross the bridge and 1h15 minutes to cross it and reach Sausalito. From Sausalito, plan a return trip by ferry or bus. Your calves will thank you!
Information on GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
FasTrak toll at US$7.25 by car, depending on the means of payment, in the North-South direction only.